Sights of San Simeon

The gateway to Big Sur from the south side is San Simeon, home to Hearst Castle and dozens of elephant seals. It gets pretty foggy during the summer and the temperature never gets above 70 degrees. Bring your jacket for the evenings and be sure to check out:

An elephant seal pup
An elephant seal pup

Elephant Seal Beach: Dozens of these adorable (and laid back) sea creatures are regular fixtures along the shoreline year-round. These creatures are so cute, you’ll hardly notice smell of brine and animal funk. Bring your binoculars and keep your distance. Local law enforcement issues steep fines to those trying touch the animals. More photos.

The extravagance of Hearst CastleHearst Castle

Hearst Castle. This is what happens when a shopping addict gets a lifetime supply of blank checkbooks. William Randolph Hearst bought everything. Everything. Statues, artwork, zoo animals; 167 rooms and 127 acres of garden filled with stuff, stuff and more stuff. And you can see it all for around $100 a pop. Think that’s pricey? Wait until you see the gift shop. But hey, at least the parking is free. Hearst’s philanthropy lives on. More photos.

San Simeon State Park
San Simeon State Park

San Simeon State Park: Pay $100 minimum for one of the hotels nearby or opt for a relaxing and natural stay for $20/night at this beautiful state park (no hook-ups). Not recommended for RVs over 35 foot. We managed to back in our 37-foot RV, but it was tricky; we had to unhitch our car trailer.

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